WINDLAND. Spatial assessment of environment-economy trade-offs to reduce wind power conflicts

Windland’s primary objective is to evaluate the loss of ecosystem services associated with wind energy installations, and to construct methods to use these data as input in designing policy instruments and regulations in order to reduce the conflicts of interest across stakeholders.

Project details

Project manager
Cathrine Hagem
Project participants








Research Council of Norway (RCN) - ENERGIX Programme

Project term
Project status
Research field

About the Project

Over time, international and national climate policies will most likely make it profitable to increase the production of wind power in Norway. Although wind energy is a part of the solution to combat climate change, it creates new local environmental challenges. Wind farms and power lines affect landscape aesthetics, produce noise pollution and cause loss of wildlife and biodiversity, both during their construction and operation.

There is a risk of massive public resistance and conflicts associated with an unprecedented increase in the number of wind farms. This project identifies some of the conflicts between the economic benefits from wind power and the environmental costs, and analyses policies aimed to decrease the conflict of interest and thereby facilitate the public support for wind farms. The research team has diverse academic background (economics, natural science, technology and law). We will therefore use interdisciplinary approaches when we analyze the following policies:

1. A wide-ranging plan for the geographical distribution of wind farms where not only the cost of energy production is taken into account, but also the impact on the local environment and local communities.

2. Schemes for compensating the environmental loss caused by wind farms and new grid constructions.

3. Regulations which make the developers of wind power pay the “right price“ for the use of land. (Polluter – pays–principle)

4. Legal protection of the environment.

For all the above policies, it is essential to have knowledge on how increased wind energy production actually affects the environment, and the public opinion of these impacts. We will therefore value welfare loss caused by wind power production, and the associated power lines. Furthermore, we will suggest how these evaluations can be used by decision makers which, when deciding where to locate new wind farms, have to take into account both the positive and negative impacts of wind power.


September 2017: Kick-off seminar